Writen Evidence from Dr Tim Stowe, Director,
SEVERN BARRAGE AND SELECT COMMITTEE INQUIRY
INTO ENERGY IN WALES
We are grateful that you have agreed to receive
a late submission to your Inquiry into Energy in Wales. Following
the Welsh Assembly Government's request to the DTI that a Severn
barrage be re-examined, we feel that it is important to set out
our views on this proposal for consideration under your inquiry.
We have attached a short paper on the RSPB Cymru's position on
a Severn barrage, which has been sent as an addendum to our more
detailed response on the wider DTI Energy Review.
Climate change is the greatest long-term threat
to diodiversity and RSPB Cymru supports energy generation in ways
that minimise greenhouse gas emissions. However, we are very concerned
that a Severn barrage would have an irreversible and serious adverse
impact on the internationally important habitats and species present
in the Severn estuary, including the 65,000 waterfowl that winter
there. We do not believe that such a development would pass the
test srequired under the Habitats Directive, particulary as we
believe there are alternatives to this project. Additionally,
we are sceptical of the overall benefits that are claimed by proponents
of the Severn barrage and believe that energy generation from
this project is not an option that would be compatible with UK
Government and Assembly commitments to sustainable development.
Our position on a Severn barrage is informed
by the wider UK energy picture, our views on which are set out
in detail in our response to the DTI Energy Review. We would be
happy to provide a copy of our full submission to this consultation,
but we are aware that brevity is of the essence, given that you
have all but finished hearing evidence on your Inquiry. I have
therefore summarised the relevant key messages of our response
UK energy policy has the central
role in ensuring that greenhouse gas emissions are cut to the
extent required by current scientific evidence on climate change.
We strongly support the approach
of the 2003 UK Government Energy White Paper, which set out the
need to focus on a prioritised hierarchy of energy conservation,
energy efficiency and renewable sources of supply. We believe
that this approach now needs to be appropriately resourced in
order that government energy and emission targets can be met.
We consider that the UK's long term
emission reduction target, or a more stringent one, can be met
by a combination of demand side management coupled with renewable
technologies, perhaps augmented in the medium term by carbon capture
The UK Government's commitments towards
biodiversity conservation and international obligations under
the Birds and Habitats Directives must not be undermined in delivering
renewables, if a sustainable approach to carbon reduction is to
There is considerable evidence that
there is sufficienty renewables capacity, including micro-generation,
together with energy efficiency and demand reduction to achieve
the necessary carbon savings from the energy sector without having
to affect adversely important wildlife sites.
In our opinion the UK has in place
a suite of policies and measures that form a sound basis both
for meeting our long term (2050) emission reduction targets and
achieving security and diversity of supply.
I am sure the Committee will be aware that the
2003 Energy White Paper effectively shelved the Severn Barrage
proposal on grounds of substantial environmental impact and disporportionate
cost. We do not see that anything has changed significantly since
2003 to justify repeating earlier feasibility studies.
17 May 2006